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NebraskaTrevor

My Epson 3800 UV printer conversion

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Hi!

It´s David from Spain!

I have been reading your entire project and the truth is that it is helping me a lot.

I am converting an Epson 7600 to flat bed UV ink and I realized that I had to change all components of the ink circuit to UV ink resistant components.

I have a question about which are the plastics that the UV ink eats, only some types of plastics are eaten?

For example, the needles where the cartridges are housed, which are black plastic, will be a problem? or should we change this too?

In principle it seems simple to change the hoses, the connectors and the dampers of the system by UV-compatible, the only thing that is not found is the part in which the cartridges are housed. Those in the photo.

Captura_de_pantalla_2018_07_07_a_la_s_12_50_07.png

 

Hello David, glad to hear the thread could be of some benefit. The 7600 should make a beast of a printer! I had one once, they are huge even in stock form. I looked at the pics you attached and although the ink system parts you show are not identical to the 3800 they look like close cousins. Now for what you dont want to hear. I was not able to use a single part of the Epson ink system besides the print head and the manifold that sets on top of it. Everything else had to be replaced because it was destroyed within minutes, hours, or days. The ink cartridges and needles were my first indication something was wrong. I had filled all of my cartridges and inserted them just before powering the printer up. Within minutes I had ink pouring, literally pouring out of the printer frame. Long story short it had eaten through the needles and valves of the cartridges and the air pump was more than happy to squeeze it out all over the place. What an expensive smelly mess that was to clean up. As a result I had to redo the entire ink delivery system over the next several weeks. I now use the empty gutted out cartridges and their receptacles sitting off to the side just to fool the printer into thinking it has full OEM cartridges in place. When they get low I just spend a few minutes to go thru the procedure to reset all 9 of them at one time since it involves several power cycles to get it done. My current setup which has been working well for over a month now consists of the following. Delrin (trade name for Acetal polymer) plastic ink thanks that I machined from solid blocks of plastic serving as containers for the 5 colors of ink. Some plastic tubing made of linear low density polyethylene, here is a link. https://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/124/163/=1dlxzmd

I connected the tubing using chrome plated brass fittings and that seems to be working well so far. I also used Chinese made UV dampers on top of the stock Epson Manifold. I capped off the line coming from the air pump built into the printer so now it just builds pressure and is happy. Without that the printer will not make it through its startup cycle. Now for what proved to be the trickiest part to figure out, but one of the simplest parts in operation, hopefully the following description will help make it easier for you to figure out to suit your printer:

Since the printer in stock form used very precise dampers with multiple valves in the dampers and in the rest of the ink system it is not a simple as providing pressurized ink to the print head as I had blindly assumed. I was originally housing the ink in stainless steel water bottles that could pressurize but that resulted in ink continually flowing out of all 8 rows of nozzles on my head......what a mess! I did some reading of Epson patents to try and wrap my head around how the print head actually works. Here is the trick it needs a continuous supply of ink.....of course, but that supply at the head has to be at a neutral pressure, or even a very slight negative pressure or vacuum. In practice this condition is quite simple to achieve, but it took a ton of trial and error to get it figured out. Each time before I print and before I turn the printer on I manually move the head off the capping station and place some paper towels below it. I then raise my ink tanks carefully up about 12 inches (30 CM) above the print head. This results in pressurized ink that then flows fairly freely from the print head. I wipe it a few times to ensure ink is coming from all 8 channels. I then lower the ink tanks back down to its resting point, about 1 inch (2.5 CM) below the print head nozzle level. When I do that the dampers all contract and the ink stops flowing from the print head. I give the print head a final wipe with rubbing alcohol and park it back on the capping station before powering the printer on. It sounds like a pain but it only takes about a minute and is a great way of ensuring that all 8 channels are primed and ready to print. I am now able to print seemingly as much as I want and more ink will be siphoned up into the print head as it sprays ink out without any problem. I do however repeat this process anytime the printer has been shut off and allowed to sit. This vacuum or negative pressure condition also has the added benefit of preventing ink form flowing out when the printer is off and the print head is parked over the capping station.


One final word of caution. I am using Made in USA Nazdar brand uv ink( they will ship all over the world) and it is tested and safe for Epson DX print heads. They have an excellent tech support department who were very willing to help me through the process and without their advise I may not have been successful. I have read that Asian ink is even more aggressive and really tears stuff up.. The Nazdar ink is only marginally more expensive than the Asian stuff but in my opinion it is a cheap form of insurance to prevent early failure of a 800 USD print head! Best of luck with your conversion I Hope it goes well for you!!!!


Trevor

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Hello again!

Thank you very much for your quick response. Your post has been a great help, especially warning. :) My initial idea was to try to replace the original components with others that are the same but resistant to UV ink, I have already bought the dampers, the pipes the bronze bushes and UV ink refillable cartidges. Only the needles and their springs and the white piece seen in the photo would be missing for now.

Maybe I can machine these parts in aluminum. Do you think it would be viable? In principle the ink would only be in contact with that piece, the other pieces of plastic should not come in contact unless there is a leak. Do you see it viable?

It seems complicated to replace the system by another parallel for the issue of pressure of the ink, but if it has to be so I will have to consider it..

Anyway, I do not understand how the pressurized ink system makes the original system. Does this happen inside the original square cartridges?

If so, maybe it's a matter of making some pieces that fit in the mouth of the cartridge ...

What do you think?

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I'm thinking on this 2 components. The needle to insert the cartidges (replacing the plastic original), and the manual valve to replace the automatic spring valve (to close circuit in case of replacing the cartidges). Do you think it can work?


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nR8EMo

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I am making a broad assumption that the ink system on the 7600 operates basically the same as the system on the 3800/3880 however that may not be a safe assumption so you will need to do some reading. Here are the problems I am guessing you will face. Even if you make the needles out of Aluminum the rubber seals on the end of the mylar ink bags that seal around the needle get attacked by the ink, therefore you will still have pressurized ink squirting out of the cartridges in a short amount of time. in my opinion the stock cartridges with their pressurized bladders will not be usable at all since the soft parts of the seals get attacked, esp by the white ink which is by far the most aggressive. Also the plastic "backplane" that is behind those needles and has very precise channels in it to get the ink the manifold where the hoses attach will also likely be attacked. Even if you overcome that problem the pressurized system will not work with the UV safe dampers....at least the 3 types I tried. If you try to pressurize or blow through a stock Epson damper you will find that it does not allow for free flow rather there is a series of 2 pressure balanced valves that only allow more fluid through when the pressure on the print head side has dropped and created suction. Think of the pressure as getting the ink reliably up to the damper, but the epson damper is a very complex machine in and of itself with multiple soft moving parts that carefully and accurately let just enough of that pressurized ink to pass through. Only after many hours of head scratching and frustration and lots of reading was I able to realize that without the complex epson dampers a pressurized system would be a no go. By contrast the Chinese UV dampers that are all over the internet do not have any valves or pressure checks in them, only a filter screen and their soft sides that allow them to absorb some pressure variations. There is nothing inside any of them (that I tried) which will serve to reduce the pressure provided by the Epson system and accurately meter ink into the print head manifold. I would love to see someone prove my wrong but I dont think that a pressurized delivery system can be pulled off with UV ink. The ink itself is just too "aggressive". A Nazdar application specialist did a nice job of explaining to me that although there are no solvents in UV ink there are several plasticizers and other components that cause it to aggressively attach itself to whatever it comes in contact with. This is of course a good thing as you want the ink to ultimately stick to whatever you applied it to, but it is also what makes the ink somewhat difficult to work with. Continued good luck with your project, I can assure you it is extremely frustrating at times, but at the same time very rewarding when you finally get it to work.

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I have assumed that there are ink cartridges compatible with UV ink, and all this components compatible with the ink, rubbers, valves.... (I had thought of these compatible cartridges)

https://es.aliexpress.com/store/product/UV-refillable-cartridge-for-Epson-Stylus-Pro-4800-4880C-4000-7600-9600-4400-4450/2407056_32763747110.html?spm=a219c.search0104.3.8.76b36e70QHYRJU&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_2_10152_10151_10065_10344_10068_10547_10342_10343_10340_10548_10341_10696_10084_10083_10618_10307_10820_10821_10301_10303_10059_100031_524_10103_10624_10623_10622_10621_10620,searchweb201603_12,ppcSwitch_5&algo_expid=1e860b3c-29e3-4118-99f6-60f025a9074f-1&algo_pvid=1e860b3c-29e3-4118-99f6-60f025a9074f&priceBeautifyAB=0

From what I understand the problem is that you think that the ink can not work like a normal ink because pressure? Or what you mean is that due to the pressure leaks occur in the joints?

If the problem is the pressure and material of joins i think I can make all circuit with compatible materials.

I'd assumed that the uv compatible dampers will have the same function that the original ones, but if it´s no true I've a new problem :D

Is there any information of the materials (kinds of plastics that the uv ink will eat?

If I have to make a new system, I may save work by directly acquiring something like this, or make something similar:

https://es.aliexpress.com/store/product/UV-Bulk-Continuous-Ink-Supply-System-CISS-Assembly-1-Liter-for-Roland-Mimaki-Mutoh-Epson-Lecai/1184895_32840960442.html?spm=a219c.search0104.3.2.3b091177IWajxI&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_2_10152_10151_10065_10344_10068_10547_10342_10343_10340_10548_10341_10696_10084_10083_10618_10307_10820_10821_10301_10303_10059_100031_524_10103_10624_10623_10622_10621_10620,searchweb201603_12,ppcSwitch_5&algo_expid=6be15f7a-9927-42c7-8838-e65a7d70d4ab-0&algo_pvid=6be15f7a-9927-42c7-8838-e65a7d70d4ab&priceBeautifyAB=0


Thank you very much for your atention!!

;)

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By the way, I'm thinking .. The ink cleaning system has problems with the ink? I mean the sponge under the head and the whole system that is plastic.

This would be a bigger problem

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By the way, I'm thinking .. The ink cleaning system has problems with the ink? I mean the sponge under the head and the whole system that is plastic.

This would be a bigger problem

 

So far no problems with the capping station...knock on wood, but as i mentioned I do all of my purging and cleaning manually with gravity so very little ink makes it into the capping station/ waste ink tank. Given more time I may find additional problems pop up there as well! It looks like your 7600 is much better supported and the fact that you can buy those cartridges will be a huge plus and save a ton of effort. the bulk tanks pictured also look very promising, and I like that each tank has a stirring motor, it is essential for white, and nice for the colors. Be sure to start a thread and post some pictures of the progress when you get going, that way it will be searchable for someone in the future who works on a 7600/9600!

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Yes!


For the moment I'm working in mechanics. I'll post some pics when I've some advances in the project.

If there are cartridges in the market, maybe it's because the plastic holds the ink... First I go to make some study with the normal ink so I've a hard work before add UV ink ;)

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Yes!


For the moment I'm working in mechanics. I'll post some pics when I've some advances in the project.

If there are cartridges in the market, maybe it's because the plastic holds the ink... First I go to make some study with the normal ink so I've a hard work before add UV ink ;)

Excellent Idea, when I built mine I got it working and sorted out all of the various mechanical and electrical problems first while it had the stock ink in it. Then I converted from the aqueous to the UV ink. I blindly assumed that it would be no big deal to convert the ink, little did I know at the time that most of the major challenges of the project would lie in the ink conversion :) Good luck and let us know when you start a build thread!

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hello friend, good night, how are you? I've seen all your project and its evolution with epson 3880 and 3800 very good. I'm on a UV project here too and would like to share some information. I still do not have the code to control the stepper motor at the printing desk. could you help me on some issues? Can I help you too.$$

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More progress

 



hello friend, good night, how are you? I've seen all your project and its evolution with epson 3880 and 3800 very good. I'm on a UV project here too and would like to share some information. I still do not have the code to control the stepper motor at the printing desk. could you help me on some issues? Can I help you too.$$

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Hello, the code is quite easy, just use one of the all in one boards from the forum sponsor and hook everything up as shown and the included code will work quite nicely. The aio board made that part of the conversion way easier than I could have imagined, it was actually the easiest part of the project. Good luck with your project!

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Hello, the code is quite easy, just use one of the all in one boards from the forum sponsor and hook everything up as shown and the included code will work quite nicely. The aio board made that part of the conversion way easier than I could have imagined, it was actually the easiest part of the project. Good luck with your project!

 

-----------------


Ain't that the truth! From one who knows!

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Hi Trevor!


I was working this last weeks on the UV printer (I’ll post all pics and explanation when I finish)

I’m in the last stage I was change ok the ink system for all the UV components but the ink eats my header nozzles!!. The piece where the dampers go broke in a few hours with the ink contact.


I don’t understand why because I use a dx5 head and the ink is formulated for the dx5 head

It’s crazy! Had you any problem with the header?


Regards

David

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Adam, it is not that I wont but given the diffirences in machines, fixtures and tooling it is really silly tobsharebg code.  Unless you happen to have the exact same machine as me it would basically be useless!  Thanks for thw interest.

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Hi Trevor,

Your article is too helpful !

You help me, my DIY UV 1390 machine automatically flows out of the print head.  May be due to too dilute ink?

( Sorry, I am not ok in English )

Edited by huedn

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14 hours ago, huedn said:

Hi Trevor,

Your article is too helpful !

You help me, my DIY UV 1390 machine automatically flows out of the print head.  May be due to too dilute ink?

( Sorry, I am not ok in English )

I am sorry but I have no idea how the ink system on the 1390 is designed.  I doubt that the viscosity of the ink is your problem, and likely that aspect is completely beyond your control.  It is what it is and there is no reasonable way to change it.  I can imagine that you will need to figure the correct balance for your system so that ink will flow to the heads, but not run out of them when they are just sitting.  Fo me that required me to find the perfect height at which to place my ink tanks, but you will need to do some experimenting.  Good luck!

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As said adjust the height of your inks.

Usually they should be about level with the print head which allows ink to be pulled I  by the printer but not siphon out by gravity.

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11 hours ago, NebraskaTrevor said:

I am sorry but I have no idea how the ink system on the 1390 is designed.  I doubt that the viscosity of the ink is your problem, and likely that aspect is completely beyond your control.  It is what it is and there is no reasonable way to change it.  I can imagine that you will need to figure the correct balance for your system so that ink will flow to the heads, but not run out of them when they are just sitting.  Fo me that required me to find the perfect height at which to place my ink tanks, but you will need to do some experimenting.  Good luck! 

 

11 hours ago, reptilesink said:

As said adjust the height of your inks.

Usually they should be about level with the print head which allows ink to be pulled I  by the printer but not siphon out by gravity. 

Thanks all

I have just tested it, it looks good.
Thank you very much

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On 7/15/2018 at 4:32 AM, uhim said:

Here is a video showing the ink system.

Any ideas how did he managed for not cutting the left  part of the epson frame to fit the UV led system?? 

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